Emotional eating, what is it? 

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I feel like eating to make myself feel better. Are you one of the people who feel so?

If yes, you are not alone.

Eating is not always done to satisfy our hunger. Food serves as our comfort. Many of us eat to relieve ourselves of stress.

This pattern of eating is called “emotional eating “.

Emotional eating is done when we feel that food makes us feel better. In that situation, a person may feel that food would satisfy the need rather than the hunger.

Finding food comforting is a common practice. People emotionally reach out for comforting food frequently to suppress their negative feelings.

What causes emotional eating? 

Any emotion triggered by work, health issues, or other problems is the main root cause. The negative feelings triggered may cause a feeling of void or emptiness in the stomach. When people consume food during a crunch situation, they tend to feel full.  

Some of the other factors that may trigger emotional eating are:

  • Negative self-talking
  • Being emotionally withdrawn
  • A change in the cortisol level in the body
  • Not engaging in stress-relieving activities and  
  • Social withdrawal

How can we differentiate between normal hunger and emotional hunger? 

We need to eat to live. Feeling hungry is natural. But how can we differentiate between natural hunger and emotional hunger?

HungerEmotional Hunger 
Develops gradually and is natural.It is sudden and is triggered by emotions
Feeling full after a mealFeeling the need to binge eat even after eating
No guilt after eatingGuilty after eating
Usually there are no cravingsCravings for particular food

Therefore, by paying attention to how we feel after we eat and also analyzing how hunger is triggered, we can identify emotional eating.

Consuming food to cope with emotional stress is an unhealthy habit. We need to remember that emotional eating will not satisfy hunger.

Eating food may feel good in that situation, but the feelings that triggered the condition are still there. Therefore, we need to adopt healthier ways to cope with emotions, avoid triggers, and stop emotional eating.

What causes emotional eating? 

Emotional eating is caused by a few factors, like

  • Stress
  • Boredom
  • Habits from childhood
  • Emotional suppress and  
  • Social setting

We need to identify these triggers and find a healthy way to cope with them.

What are the ways to stop emotional eating? 

The most important thing we need to understand is that emotional eating will not satisfy hunger. When the feeling that causes the trigger is left unaddressed, the person will be stuck in the cycle of emotional eating.

Finding alternate ways to deal with stress 

Finding ways to deal with stress plays a crucial part in cribbing cravings. We are finding ways to divert our mind from the stress-triggering situation. Exploring new activities or keeping ourselves busy would help.

Taking a break and strolling down a street will help to beat the negative feelings and help us to suppress hunger. Performing exercises or yoga is a useful preventive measure to suppress emotional hunger.

Keeping the mind calm and practicing mindfulness is a great way to beat stress.

Having a balanced diet is very important. Providing the body with all the essential nutrients required for proper functioning is a must.

Keeping ourselves from isolation and seeking support is one of the bravest things a person can do to come out from the unhealthy cycle of emotional eating.

Consulting a medical professional or a fitness coach may help us identify the underlying cause of the emotional trigger and help us deal with it in a healthy manner.

When feelings of guilt or shame are involved in emotional eating, positive self-talk will come in handy. Instead of beating yourself up, we can work on the setback and improve.

It is hard work to get ourselves away from the cycle of emotional eating. It is also recommended to consult a doctor if we find our eating pattern is abnormal. If such habits are left unaddressed, they may lead to bigger issues like an eating disorder.

Supporting our lifestyle with healthy habits will improve our overall well-being.

Activities like

  • Exercise
  • Adequate sleep
  • Socializing and
  • Taking time for oneself and relaxing will help us lead a healthy life.

To sum up

Emotional eating is when a person eats food to deal with their feelings rather than satisfy their hunger. Finding comfort in eating food is a common unhealthy practice. Emotional eating can affect both men and women.

It is important for individuals to learn to cope with their negative feelings in a better way. Emotional eating is a harmful practice.

By adopting the above-mentioned techniques, an individual may reduce the triggers of emotional eating. It is recommended that we consult a medical professional if we find that our eating patterns are abnormal. Healthy lifestyle choices are needed to lead a productive life.


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The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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